Oilers still struggling to defend and score, as the losses pile up

AP
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One step forward followed by another step back.

Two days after a welcomed goal-fest against the New Jersey Devils to get back into the win column, the Edmonton Oilers once again had to deal with their struggles that have plagued the beginning of their season.

The result was an ugly 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on home ice Sunday. So bad was the situation for the Oilers that, per Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, their star Connor McDavid was eventually placed in the middle on a line with Drake Caggiula and Jussi Jokinen, as coach Todd McLellan decided enough was enough and to shift things around while his top line struggled in this game.

Yeesh.

Now the Oilers face a four-game road trip through the Eastern Conference, sitting second from the bottom in the West and with an abundance of questions about the roster and how it has been assembled by general manager Peter Chiarelli. Losing certainly heightens the criticism and after entering this season with tremendous expectations, the Oilers have been a rather large disappointment through the first few weeks.

“I didn’t think we had a lot of energy,” McLellan told reporters.

“We had some admirable performances by guys that are probably a little further down in the lineup tonight. Thought they played well. But we didn’t have a lot of energy. Our bigger bodies didn’t move around the rink real well. I thought Detroit did a much better job of committing themselves to defending the important areas.

“Yeah, we had some chances. But they got sticks in on it. They got bodies in on it. Couple of their opportunities we were vacating the zone already and that’s not going to do it. We’ve got to defend first and score second, and we’re not doing either right now.”

As a result, the losses continue to pile up, and the frustration continues to build.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.